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Rafael Leao and five possible replacements for Mbappe at PSG

Stuart Telford
Rafael Leao, Kylian Mbappe, PSG
© IMAGO

Kylian Mbappe looks set to sign for Real Madrid from Paris Saint-Germain. Rafa Leao is just one of the frontrunners to replace him at the Parc des Princes…

Mbappe has been tipped to make an announcement on his future soon, with transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano saying recently that a decision wouldn’t be made “in June or July,” the intimation that it would be far sooner.

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Real are odds on to make the French superstar their next Galactico, and he would leave a gaping hole in PSG’s attack. FootballTransfers looks at who they are most likely to fill it with…

Rafa Leao

— Football Transfers (@Transfersdotcom) June 2, 2023

Leao would be a statement signing for PSG. He may not be as prolific as Mbappe yet, but 15 goals and 10 assists from 35 Serie A games last season are not to be sniffed at, and he has followed that up with 11 direct goal-involvements in the current campaign.

Leao signed a new five-year contract with Milan last June which reportedly includes a €175 million release clause – a significant amount of money. But the optics of making such a blockbuster signing could help assuage disappointed PSG fans.

Xavi Simons

Xavi Simons is set to return the Parc des Princes in June.
© IMAGO – Xavi Simons is set to return the Parc des Princes in June.

A player already on PSG’s books, Xavi Simons has been impressing on loan at RB Leipzig this season, with seven goals and nine assists across his Bundesliga and Champions League appearances.

A product of Barcelona’s fabled La Masia academy, Paris signed Xavi as a 16-year-old in 2019, then re-signed him last summer after an impressive stint at PSV Eindhoven in his native Netherlands. It could be third time lucky for the youngster next summer.

Victor Osimhen

— Football Transfers (@Transfersdotcom) February 5, 2023

Of course, it is not just wide attacking players who might be signed to replace Mbappe. The PSG captain is just as happy on the left wing as he is up front, and few players would be better placed to replace his 29 goals and counting this season than Victor Osimhen.

The Nigeria striker fired Napoli to their first Serie A title in 33 years last season, and although Chelsea and Arsenal are reportedly at the front of the queue for the talented No.9, PSG also have the deep pockets needed to prize him away from Napoli.

Leroy Sane

Leroy Sane says he is settled at Bayern, but rumours about his future persist.
© IMAGO – Leroy Sane says he is settled at Bayern, but rumours about his future persist.

And then there are the handful of players who might be able to replace the two main roles Mbappe fulfils at the Parc des Princes, the rare hybrid of winger and forward – something Leroy Sane has increasingly become at Bayern Munich.

Only Harry Kane has outscored the former Manchester City man at Bayern this season, and he is regularly linked with a move back to the Premier League. But as a French speaker – the son of former Senegal international Souleymane – adapting to life in Paris might not be too difficult.

Mohamed Salah

Salah could follow Jurgen Klopp out of Liverpool at the end of the season - but to where?
© IMAGO – Salah could follow Jurgen Klopp out of Liverpool at the end of the season – but to where?

Mo Salah must now be considered an outside bet, with it looking increasingly likely that he will swap Liverpool for the Saudi Pro League at the end of the season, but PSG are also backed by Middle-Easter money and few players in world football could help fans forget about Mbappe as quickly as the Egyptian Kind.

A winger who scores goals like a striker – Salah is a three-time Premier League Golden Boot winner – he has the ability and profile to keep PSG at the level they desire. Whether his signature is attainable now remains to be seen, though.

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